Saturday, January 13, 2007

Eating in Barcelona

Tapas at Cerveseria Canarias

Here you see something I have never tasted before, anchovis fillets served in vinegar. Very different from what I have tasted earlier. Delicious!!

Eating in Barcelona

Tapas at Cerveseria Canarias

Lovely hot chorizos, baked in the oven!!

Eating in Barcelona

Tapas at Cerveseria Canarias

Her you have a small selection of tapas we ate at Cerveseria Canarias. From the top, left bread with tomato, then a triangular piece of tortilla, potato omelette, at the bottom patatas bravas, fried potatoes with a creamy sauce flaoured with cummin. Left, top croquetas.

Eating in Barcelona

Cervesieria Canarias - the interior

Who can resist such an interior! I think this is nicest interior in any of the restaurants I visited in Barcelona. Do have a look at the Christmas decorations hanging down from the roof. It took us a little time to see that they were created around the fans that cool the guests during the hot season.

Eating in Barcelona

Tapas at Cerveseria Canarias, the real thing!!

The last time I visited Barcelona, we fell for this traditional tapas- restaurant, and I could not wait to get back!!. This is definetely one of my favourites in Barcelona, due to its rustique charm and very good food. And we are not alone, as this restaurant does really good business. It is always packed with people.

Location: BBBBB

Cerveseria Canarias has one of the best locations I know. Under the archways of Placa Reial, my favourite square. From March to October you can sit outside, by the Gaudis lamps and the tall date palms.

Atmosphere: BBBBB-

During the cold season you can walk into one of the most charming restaurants I know in Barcelona. Rustique wooden tables, chairs and benches. Not the best to sit on, but who cares. The walls are partly covered by traditional spanish tiles. Cerveseria Canarias is not trendy, not chic, but definitely genuinly Spanish, and that is great! You are in Spain, after all!!

Prices: BBBBB

I know that I seem quite unimaginative by saying inexpensive. By Scandinavian standards (my benchmarking) all the restaurants we visited were remarkable cheap. So also Cerveseria Canarias. A couple of Euros for a tapa means that your bill usually ends up at €20-25 for three, drinks included. And it is worth it.

Service: BBBB+

This is a place packed with people and the waiters run around like hell, meaning that they are doing their best. There is, however an english menu, so there are no problem finding out what to order. It may take some time, but we got our beer, and there were so much to see.

The Food: BBBBB-

Great and traditional food. Patatas Bravas, Patatas bravas, fried potato dices (sometimes part-boiled and then fried, or simply boiled) served with salsa brava, a spicy tomato sauce. Alioli is often served with it too. Tortillas, croquetas, chorizo, meatballs, albóndigas in a spicy tomato sauce, pocherones, a kind of anchovis in vinegar, and much, much more. Presentation? Rustique. Taste? Yum, yum!!! And especially with one or two pints of ice cold Estrella Damm.

Total score: BBBBB-

Go there!!!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Preparing tapas - Pinxtos

Pinxtos are tapas served as small crostinis, slices of easily toasted slices of fine bread. You can serve these with different toppings. I served three different varieties at Ketils party, and will present two here.

Pinxtos with salmon mousse

20 slices of bread, lightly toasted

How to make the salmon mousse.

Four pieces of salmon (17 0unces / 500 grs)
8 fluid ounces / 200 ml of single cream (20%)
10 fluid ounces / 300 ml of whole milk (4%)
2 leaves of gelatin
1 stock cube of fish stock (to around a pint of liquid)
Dried dillweed
1 ½ tbsp of sweet thai chili

Soak gelatin in cold water until softened

Pour milk and cream into a pan and heat to boiling point, add stock cube, dillweed and the brine from the tuna. Reduce heat. Poach salmon in liquid 10-15 minutes. Take out and remove skin and bones.

Take gelatin out and dissolve in hot liquid. Add thai chili.

Place the salmon and tuna in a blender, ad liquid, and blend until smooth. Place in container and allow to cool in refrigerator until set.

Cut mousse into slices. Place on bread. Garnish with roe, shelled shrimps or a thin slice of smoked salmon.

Pinxtos with paté of venison and black truffles

10 slices of bread, lightly toasted
200 grs / 8 oz paté of venison
10 grs of black truffles

Slice the paté into 10 slices. Place on bread. Take a very sharp knife. Cut the truffle into thin slices for garnish.

Preparing tapas - salmon nibbles with sweet chili

Easy to make, but they take a little time yo prepare. These nibbles are wraps cut into 1-2 inch slices.

Serves 10

200 grs / 8 oz smoked salmon in slices
150 grs / 6 oz cream cheese with chives
1 tbsp sweet chili dipping sauce
4 large wheat tortillas

Cut the slices of salmon into strips. Mix cream cheese with thai chili dipping sauce and then mix in the salmon strips.

Heat wheat tortillas in a dry pan until soft. Spread mix on the middle. Fold in edges and roll into a firm wrap. Allow to rest in refrigerator.

Cut edges. Cut into 2 inch slices before serving.

Preparing tapas - chorizos in sherry

Very easy as well. Allow the pieces of chorizo to soak in the sherry an hour before you put them in the oven.

Serves 10. Take forty pieces of hot chorizo (1/2 inch / 1,5 cm), and place in roasting tray. Place toothpick in each for easy serving. Pour sweet sherry (I use Bristol Cream) into tray nearly covering the chorizos. Allow to marinate for 1 hour. Roast in a moderately hot oven (200C/400F) until the chorizo gets brown and much of the sherry has evaporated.

Preparing tapas - forty little piggies

These are probably the easiest tapas to prepare, and you can prepare them the day before and store them in the refrigerator

Serves 10. Take forty small prunes, or you can cut larger prunes in half. Take a slice of bacon and fold them around the prune. If you want, you can fasten it with a toothprick. Put in a non stick roasting tray and roast in a moderately hot oven (200C/340F) until golden and crisp.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pictures from a Tapas buffet

When my friend Ketil Johan Zahl decided to celebrate his 50th anniversary, I offered to make a tapas buffet. The buffet should feed 11, but as one of the guests called in sick, I cooked for 10. That is a hell of lot of tapas, but I am proud to say that Ketil and his wife were very happy with the result.

Pinxtos with tuna salad and fried red peppers
Pinxtos with salmon mousse with sweet chili
Pinxtos with paté of venison with black truffles
Small pizzas with mozarella, olives and spanish chorizo
Chicken wings in a hot smokie mesquite barbeque sauce
King prawns with a sweet italian sauce
Little piggies: Prunes rolled in a slice of bacon
Spanish chorizos in sherry
Croustades with trout roe and sour cream
Salmon nibbles, small wraps filled with salmon mixed with cream cheese with chives

Here you see the the result - the tapas buffet, and I will present some of what I made here at Enjoy Food & Travel.

La Sagrada Famila: The facade of the Resurrection

The other facade could not more different than the sinister and dark facade of death. It looks organic in its jubilation, alive, as if it is covered by climbing plants, trees and flowers, and numerous sculptures. Here you can recognize forms that you can find i.e. in Park Guëll.

La Sagrada Famila: Stained glass windows

The beautiful stained glass windows reflects the strong sun outside, pouring an abundance of wonderful coloured rays into the church room.

La Sagrada Famila: The church room

Inside, the church room takes form. Here you see the columns that hold the roof up. Gaudí found the inspiration for these in nature, in the form of the trunks, branches and foliage of the trees. Gracious, spacious, and beautiful - Gaudís hymn to the Creation and the Creator.

La Sagrada Famila: The gates of death

One of the facades is dedicated to the suffering and death of Christ. The architecture is distant, cold and scary. The knight by the door, reminds me of the knight on the white horse mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.

I found these symbols on one of the heavy doors of the death facade. Here you see death in the form of a skull and the symbol of St. James the Great, the shell of a scallop or the Coquille St. Jacques as it is called in french. He is said to be buried in the Basilica of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, in North western Spain.

The heritage from Antoni Gaudí: La Sagrada Famila

There are few buildings that fill you with awe, in the same way as La Sagrada Familia. On a distance it looks like a gothic cathedral under construction, but as you come closer you find that it is so much more. It reflects the styles, faith and moods of its creator, Antoni Gaudí, from the dark recognition of the empire of death to his jubilation of the resurrection of Christ.

In the same way as the large gothic cathedrals, La Sagrada Familia has been under construction for over 120 years. Even if the construction of the cathedral has been done after the drawings of Gaudí, still at least four to five generations of arctitects, engineers and builders will have left their mark when the building is completed. I will give you some impressions of this magnificent church, but you have to see this mighty house of worship yourself.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Barcelona - foodstories: Bacallà - a Scandinavian speciality

Back at the market at Placa Nova, we found Rafols Bacala, selling Clipfish or Bacallà. Clipfish has been an important export article from Norway and this trade dates back even as far back as the Middle Ages.

Bacallà is the norwegian fish product known in the Mediterranean. I really understood this the first time I visited Barcelona. We enterred a local bar, where we stayed, in the Maria Cristina area. Neither the bartender nor the guests spoke one word english. But when they understood that we were Norwegians, their first respons was, yes you've guessed it - Bacalao!

This as salted and dried codfish is the main ingredient in a tomato fish stew made in Spain, Portugal, Italy and also in South America named after the clipfish. This dish has even been exported back to the western coast of Norway, where it still is a popular part of local cuisine.

Barcelona - Foodstories: An abundance of seafood

The food market by La Rambla is so impressive, offering an abundance of meat, vegetables, fish and as here - fresh seafood from the Mediterranean and beyond. King prawns, tigerprawns, shrimps and other varieties of crustaceans you have never seen or heard of before assembled in kind of a giant seafood stilleben. If I had been a citizen of Barcelona, I would have done my shopping nowhere else.

Barcelona - foodstories

Barcelona is full of foodstories. Restaurants, food markets and specialized shops. It is very difficult to describe the smell, tastes and sights of the catalan food - it just has to be experienced. Still I would like to give you some images from the rich culinary scene of this lovely mediterranean city.

Few things are so typical spanish as Jamon Serrano, their great smoked ham. But there are so many other varieties of smoked meats, chorizos, and salamis to enjoy. You can clearly see that as you pass through one of the famous markets. Some of them, as the legendary Pata Negra are among the most expensive ham varieties in the world.

This picture is from the market close to Placa Nova, by the cathedral, and this booth sold so many varieties I have never heard of before. By the way, salted and cured meats are lovely memories to bring home with you, and many varieties may be stored in room temperature during your stay and may be stored at least six months.

And when you start carving slices in your kitchen, you have this wonderful feeling that you have brought a little slice of Barcelona with you. Lovely!!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Eating in Barcelona

Tapelia - eating tapas

We where served four different tapas. To the left you see tortilla, peasant-style omelette, served with aïoli, to the right you see croquettes also served with aïoli. The third tapa was a slice of paté served with a sweet jam. We were also served a delicious mini-paella.

Eating in Barcelona

Tapelia - Chicken Lasagne with small vegetables, gratinated with emmenthaler cheese

Per chose this dish, he was very pleased!

Eating in Barcelona

Tapelia - crepe filled with aubergines and hake with a bechamel sauce

This was Susannes choice, and she was very satisfied!

Eating in Barcelona

Tapelia - salad with white asparagus

This salad was delicious. The asparagus were very well prepared, steamed and then cooled down, providing a delicious crunch.

Eating in Barcelona

Tapelia - tapas, rice and much more

"Arroz and tapas" is offered at Tapelia, located on one of Barcelonas busiest streets, Passeig de Gracia. But you can get this and so much more, at a very low price. It was such a great restaurant that we ate there twice!

Location BBBB

At 15 Passeig de Gracia close to Placa Catalunya. The restaurant has two floors, one basement level serving dinner, at the upper level they offer a wide variety of tapas. Even if the location is good, it has no wow-factor, so four B's to Tapelia.

Atmosphere: BBBBB

Tapelia has a great interior, very minimalistic and chic. The rooms were painted in grey and cream livened by large colourful paintings. The china on which the dishes were served, were all different in shape. Good chairs, really nothing to put you finger on!!

Price: BBBBB

For a Scandinavian it is great to see a menu with dishes mainly priced less than € 20, and this is the upper end. And the food is worth the price we paid.

Service: BBBB+

The service was very different the two times we visited Tapelia. The first night, we experienced difficulties when ordering. Our waiter did not speak english, and even if I pointed at my meal, a chicken salad, I was served salad with asparagus. He also started to clear our table before all of us had finished our meal. Our second meal, we ordered tapas for lunch, and the service was generally very good.

The food BBBB+

The food was very good. The first evening, I ordered a salad with white aspargus. Susanne had a crepe filled with aubergines and hake in a bechamel sauce. Per ordered a chicken lasagna lasagne and small vegetables, gratinated with emmenthaler cheese. My salad was great. The asparagus and salad were crisp. Lovely tastes.

We were served a great selection of tapas for lunch the second time. Some very traditional as tortillas and crocquettes, but we also orderes game pate with a wonderful sweet jam. The desserts were delicious too, two different sorbets, crepes with chocolate, profiteroles, banoffi pie. We were also served a great rosé wine, spanish Free Gold. Yum, yum!!

Overall score: BBBB+

Very recommendable - a place to return to!

Coming up on Enjoy Food & Travel in March - New England - once again!!

Saturday, February 24th, at 11.50 AM, I will embark on Icelandair flight 315 to Keflavik international airport, Reykjavik. 5.00 PM, I will cath the corresponding flight 630, bound for Logan international airport, in Boston, Massachussets. I will stay with my dearest cousin Erica Eastman Brady and her husband Mark in Scituate, south of Boston until March 5th. Plans for stay? Not yet! But hopefully some good meals, and wine, and some wonderful evenings in front of the fire. So - in March I will give you my memories from North America off season

Coming up on Enjoy Food & Travel in February - Copenhagen

Copenhagen is just one night away from Oslo. The DFDS operates a ferry daily from Oslo to the Danish capital. January and February is budget time, where you can get a real bargain. I and my sister have booked a 48 hour cruise for a little over €20, roundtrip!!. What is included in this price? Double room two nights, but no breakfast and ofcourse no free champagne. So in February I will give you stories a from a cruise along the Kattegat to "Kongens København".

See Map of sights, restaurants, and food stories in Copenhagen here:

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